Newest Review: ... good guy. Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) Beautiful, but tough as nails, spy Sarah is Chuck's handler, and the chemistry between them... more
Just your average spy show
Member Name: grahamt
Date: 13/08/09, updated on 20/08/09 (53 review reads)
Advantages: A showcase for new talent
Disadvantages: Not very funny
There are so many things I want to watch on the box that inevitably I have to record them on the V+ and play them back when I have time. I end up having quite a collection and then splurging them all on one go. I tend to do this if a new show comes along and I'm not sure if will like it or not. This has been the case with Reaper, Burn Notice, The Unit, Sarah Connor and, most recently, Chuck. I discovered that I had quite a few episodes of Chuck lined up so sat down to start to get into them. I watched the first half dozen. I wish I hadn't bothered.
Chuck is yet another "I've got a secret" show. It follows the formulaic theme of the inept but well-meaning accidental hero, the feisty female, there to look out for him, the "heavy" for when things get rough and the dopey friends, who do their best to make a mess of everything, accidentally of course.
This time the secret is that our hero, Chuck Bartowski, played by Zachary Levi, seen previously in "Less than perfect", has the contents of the databases of the US secret services organisations accidentally downloaded into his head. Chuck is a computer nerd and so the ability to absorb terabytes of information instantly is supposed to make some sort of sense!
However, rather than do the sensible thing and eliminate him, these same secret services decide instead to recruit him for his ability to instantly recognise spies, assassins, and general anti-American agents when they turn up in his field of vision, which they regularly do.
To maintain his cover he continues working at a local hyperstore where he mans the computer help desk. Helping him to maintain his cover are secret agents Sarah Walker, played by Australian actress Yvonne Strahovski, whose own cover is that she works in the fast-food outlet next door and John Casey, played by TV regular, Adam Baldwin, who has taken up a position in the same store as Chuck.
Since this is supposedly a comedy, we inevitably have the dim-wit buddies of our hero, Lester Patel (Vik Sahay) and Jeff Barnes (Scott Krinsky), from whom he is supposed to keep hidden his alter ego, whilst working alongside them every day.
Notwithstanding the utterly implausible plot line, this theme has been played out so much better in shows like the brilliant Reaper. In fact, it took me a while but finally I recognised where the "inspiration" for this show may have come from. To my mind this is nothing more or less than an attempt to produce a "Get Smart" for the 21st century, and missing by a mile.
Most of all, Chuck isn't even funny. I've had more laughs from "The Wire" and "True Blood", which under no circumstances can be called comedies, than from Chuck. "Reaper" does this so much better, not the least of which is because of the acting of the brilliant Ray Wise. In Chuck, whilst the acting is competent, it hardly sets the screen alight.
However, it seems that someone, at least in the US, must like it since it appears that it has been commissioned for a second series. I find it astounding the dross that seem to be successful across the pond when brilliant shows such as The Riches, Joan of Arcadia, Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies seem to get canned almost before they started. Clearly US tastes are very different from our own. Still, at least we still have "House"!
I have a fair number more episodes recorded but I'm wondering if my time couldn't be better spent and space freed up on the V+ recorder for shows I would much rather watch. One thing's for sure, I won't be bothering to record Series 2.
Summary: A formulaic US comedy spy show that fails to amuse